WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1) retained his world title yesterday after he defeated Britain’s Anthony Yarde (18-1) via TKO in the 11th round.
The highly anticipated fight took place in Kovalev’s home town of Chelyabinsk, Russia. A sold-out Traktor Sport Palace was cheering for the home hero who dominated his adversary from the first bell of the bout.
The 36-year-old Russian was using his jab perfectly, as Yarde had to dig deep to land something meaningful. Kovalev was taking his time in the first rounds, moving freely and doing a great job on the outside, but sometimes it seemed that he’s giving too much respect to the younger Brit.
Yarde’s best rounds came in the 7th and 8th. The 28-year-old finally got through Sergey’s defense and landed some brutal body hooks that hurt the champion. Yarde showcased his tremendous power and a lot of people thought that the fight was about to be stopped, but Kovalev experience got him through. That was Yarde’s best shot of winning the fight, but unfortunately for him, he gassed out after that and it was all the home guy until the end. He took over the bout, throwing precious shots and doing just enough to keep the exhausted Yarde away.
Kovalev stormed his opponent with some heavy bangers in the final second of the 10th round and if he had 5 more seconds the fight was gonna be stopped right there. Still, Kovalev managed to get the job done inside the 12 rounds. In the 11th, he connected with a short jab that dropped the Brit on the ground and referee Luis Pabon stepped in and called the fight.
Nevertheless, Yarde fought an extremely good fight, but the more experienced fighter knew what he was supposed to do and more importantly, when. It was Yarde’s first pro loss, but it’s not a question that if he works on his stamina, sooner or later he’ll be back in the mandatory position.